All but one pump-generators will return to service in spring

Matthew Weaver

Capital Press

Grand Coulee Dam managers say one of the pump-generating units damaged by a November fire won't return to service until the end of the year, but the remaining units will be back in service this spring and provide plenty of irrigation water to the region's farms.

One of the pump-generating units damaged by fire at the Grand Coulee Dam won’t be back online until the end of 2014, a spokeswoman for the project says, but that won’t impact the supply of irrigation water for farmers.

The No. 12 pump generator in John W. Keys III Pump Generating Plant will return to service in December, Lynne Brougher, public affairs officer for the dam said, but the other units damaged in a November fire will return to service this spring.

The fire did not directly damage the pump-generating units, Brougher said. The equipment damaged was switchgear and cables.

“Those are the things that will need to be replaced,” she said.

There are six pump units, which pump water from Lake Roosevelt behind the dam into Banks Lake, and six pump-generating units, which can be reversed to bring water from Banks Lake to generate power, Brougher said.

Crews have begun cleaning the units. They will progress from pump No. 1 down the line, Brougher said.

The dam managers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation previously said that the pump units will be operating by March, with no impact to irrigation water. That’s still the case, Brougher said.

“We expect to have all the pump units on and operating by March 1,” Brougher said. “That will be plenty to supply water for irrigation.”

Cables and switches on pump-generating units 10 and 11 also require some work. Pump-generating unit 10 is expected to return to service May 29 and unit 11 is slated to return May 1, Brougher said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Dam managers expect a report by the end of January.



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